Cyclone Tauktae Expected To Hit Gujarat In Evening, Mumbai Airport Shuts
Cyclone Tauktae: Around 25,000 people have been evacuated from low-lying areas between Porbandar and Mahuva in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district in anticipation of landfall.
New Delhi: Cyclone Tauktae – an ‘extremely severe cyclonic storm’ – is “very likely” to make landfall in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district between 8 pm and 11 pm, with winds up to 165 km per hour. At 8.30 am it was 150 km from Mumbai and moving at 15 km per hour.
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Around 25,000 people have been evacuated from low-lying areas between Porbandar and Mahuva in Bhavnagar. Overall more than 1.5 lakh have been shifted from low-lying areas in the state. Officials are bracing for very heavy rainfall and winds of up to 190 km per hour. Warnings are also in place in Junagarh, Gir Somnath and Amreli.
Massive damage is expected in Porbandar, Amreli, Junagarh, Gir Somnath, Botad and coastal areas of Ahmedabad, including destruction of thatched houses. Officials have warned of damage to power and communication lines. Flooding of roads and disruption to railway lines and signaling systems is expected, as is damage to salt pans and standing agricultural crops.
On Monday morning news agency ANI said nearly 7,000 fishing boats – around 2,200 from Gujarat and 4,500 from Maharashtra had been returned to harbour. In addition over 300 merchant ships were alerted or re-routed and oil rig operators were also warned.
National Disaster Response Force head SN Pradhan said over 100 NDRF teams have been deployed. Quick response medical teams and public health teams, with stocks of emergency medicines, have also been sent into the field.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked for least possible disruption in oxygen supply from Gujarat’s Jamnagar – the site of Reliance Industries’ massive refinery, which currently India’s largest single-location medical oxygen provider. Oxygen supply is of critical importance with lakhs of Covid patients on life support. Reliance has said it is working to ensure supply but warned it may be forced to shut down for a few hours.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s office said the state – the worst-affected with nearly five lakh active cases – would also ensure power and oxygen for hospitals and that patients undergoing treatment at Covid and non-Covid facilities in coastal areas had been relocated. Mr Thackeray’s office said he was closely monitoring the situation.
On Sunday Tauktae triggered gale-force winds, heavy rainfall and high tidal waves along the Karnataka, Kerala and Goa coasts, killing at least six people. It also forced the evacuation of lakhs from coastal areas, damaged houses, roads and power lines.